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An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

First People - The Legends. Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves. November 16, 2004. [accessed April 7, 2012].

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Slave Insurrection In Prince George's County Maryland December 1739

1. Historic American Buildings Survey John O. Brostrup, Photographer April 21, 1936 11:15 A. M. VIEW FROM NORTHEAST (front)

               A few miles south of Upper Marlborough  just to the west of the mid 20th century highway US 301 near Frank Tippet Road lie the lands of a colonial Maryland plantation then known as "Poplar Neck".  Today there is nothing to see, the historic plantation house pictured above having been demolished to make way for the now silent buildings of a 20th century Naval facility that once housed communication arrays for the United States in World War II through the end of the Cold War.

               272 years ago a number of slaves began to formulate their plot to rise up and throw off the chains of oppression. The number of slaves involved according to a letter written by a prominent Annapolis lawyer to an eastern shore planter was around 200 although the court records show that only 6 were indicted and tried. The slaves had planned to kill the white male slave owners, and because of the shortage of female slaves keep the women for wives, according to lawyer Bordley's report. The insurrection would march to Annapolis and after destroying the government and any resistance take over the government of the land. The rebellion was revealed to a planter's wife by a slave woman who had overheard the plotting, though at first the enslaved servant was not believed.

               Slaves from Croom and Upper Marlborough through an area now known as Cheltenham to Piscataway plantations may have been involved. Led by a 40 to 50 year old slave named John "Jack" Ransom, the insurrection included slaves born in Maryland of mixed race such as Ransom may have been as well as slaves born in Africa recently brought unwillingly to the fields and farms of the western shore of the lower Chesapeake. Some of the reports of the time suggest that the date of the insurrection was put off several times due to wet rainy Sundays. The visit of the Reverend George Whitefield, the internationally famous evangelist, preaching in Upper Marlborough at the beginning of December 1739 may have inspired or upset the freedom fighters' plans. Certainly Whitefield's visit as part of the Great Awakening gave a message of hope that would have to wait another two centuries to be realized.[1]

[1] NEWS AND NOTES FROM The Prince George's County Historical Society.
Vol. VIII, no. 1 [accessed December 26, 2011]

Sources: Savelle, Max. Seeds of Liberty. Seattle: University of Washington Press. 1948           pp 59 61 (including the quote from Benjamin Franklin, from his Writings).
               Whitefield, George. George Whitefield’s Journals. The Banner of Truth Trust. 1960.


Thursday, Dec. 6 Had an opportunity of writing some letters last night and this morning to England. Waited on Governor Ogle [Samuel Ogle, of Belair, Prince George's County], and was received with much civility....

Friday, Dec. 7. A visible alteration has taken place in the behaviour of the people of the house. Preached in the morning and evening to small polite auditories. The Governor put aside his court to come to morning service, and at noon, upon an invitation sent last night, I and my friends dined with him....

Upper Marlborough

Saturday, Dec. 8. Had more last night come to family prayer. Left Annapolis this morning. Baited at Upper Marlborough, about fifteen miles distant, intending to go further; but being desired by some gentlemen to stay and preach on the morrow, I was prevailed upon, and spent the remainder of the day in sweet conversation with my friends, and in writing letters to some under convictions at Philadelphia. I supped with a gentleman who kindly entertained both me and my fellow travellers. Our talk ran upon the fall of man. I fear Deism has spread much in these parts. I cannot say I have yet met with many here Min seem truly to have the fear of God before their eyes.

Upper Marlborough, Port Tobacco

Sunday, Dec. 9. Preached at Upper Marlborough, to a small, polite, and seemingly very curious audience. Dined with the gentleman with whom we supped last night. There being no sermon in the, afternoon, we took horse, and went a Sabbath day's journey as far as Piscataway, where we were kindly entertained. Wrote some letters to our English friends. Conversed to the use of edifying, and felt an uncommon freedom and sweetness in each other's spirits. Well might our Lord say, "The Kingdom of God is within you;" for they who are truly born of God, carry Heaven in their hearts.

'From Piscataway Whitefield travelled on to Port Tobacco and there he crossed the river into Virginia. While his brief tour through Maryland could not be considered a success in terms of the size of the audience he had reached, his earlier tours through the northern and middle colonies had been. There he spoke to hundreds at a time.           Alan Virta

Sources:               Savelle, Max. Seeds of Liberty. Seattle: University of Washington Press. 1948            pp 59 61 (including the quote from Benjamin Franklin, from his Writings).

               Whitefield, George. George Whitefield’s Journals. The Banner of Truth Trust. 1960. .
               The arrest of the slaves and the resulting panic among the slave owning white population resulted in a flurry of hyperbolic political activity on the part of local and state government officials that resulted in a reinvigorated militia (local policing authority  governing the movement and conduct of enslaved workers in the colony of Maryland) as well as attempts to use the conspiracy to raise the alarm about a possible Spanish invasion. Attempts to suggest the involvement of Catholic priest in the rebellion did not come to anything, though reflect the continuing religious tension of the day. The State did however notify county officials to enforce laws against slave meetings. Trial records show that some of the indicted slaves turned state's witness and in the end only one man was condemned to be hanged in chains, Jack Ransom after a trail in mid Spring of 1740. 

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